Developing Your Leadership Principles

By Phil Burian, Ph.D, Business and Management Department Chair 

CTU Business Degree - Leadership PrinciplesOne of my graduate students recently asked about my principles for effective, successful leadership. I had to think about this and reflect. What seemed like a simple task became an exercise in putting together a list of what I’ve learned over the past 30 years of my career. Any leadership list starts with defining your values as a leader and compiling lessons learned from valuable experience. Here is what I learned:

Burian’s Leadership Principles

  • Treat every interaction and decision as situational
  • Make comprehensive-based decisions
  • Set the example and don’t become one
  • Be honest and direct
  • Speak out when you disagree or when you agree
  • Take care of your people
  • Don’t live by the numbers, live by the product or service
  • Reflect on the past so you don’t follow the same path
  • Question the experts and the status quo
  • Stay focused and on track
  • Follow current events
  • Build your network and sphere of influence
  • Develop yourself professionally
  • Know your strengths, weaknesses and self evaluate
  • Innovate, be on the leading edge but not the sharp edge
  • Embrace reality, not fantasy
  • Show emotion and empathy
  • Be willing to change, adapt to change and remain flexible
  • Use technology as leverage and not as the center of the universe
  • Be passionate about everything 

Now it’s your turn. What are your own leadership principles?  Do they reflect what you believe, and how others view you? Begin writing your list and, importanly, make sure they’re what you choose to live out.


CTU Faculty - Phil BurianDr. Phil Burian’s career spans over 30 years of technical and leadership positions in government, industry and academic environments. He is currently the Chair of the Business and Management Department at CTU Sioux Falls. Dr. Burian and his family are the owners and operators of Diamond Burian Ranch in South Dakota. Connect with him on Twitter or Google+.



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Image credit: Flickr/FMG2008 


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